Tar Boat Epilogue

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Winter 2019

Another two images taken by Jack Parkinson show Thomas Clayton boats in their final years of operation

Although there were a number of boat-owners operating decked tank boats from the latter half of the 19th century, the last and best known was Thomas Clayton, which became Thomas Clayton (Oldbury) Limited in 1904. The first image shows Claytons’ motor Pearl with a distinctive hogging in its hull as it discharges its cargo at the Midland Tar Distillers Ltd’s unloading landing in the company’s own basin. This hogging has been attributed to the heat from steaming the tar cargo to liquify it to a state that it can be more easily pumped out of the hold. The extreme angle of the boat is to ensure all its liquid cargo is directed towards the pump. Pearl was built as a horse-boat by Nurser Brothers at Braunston Wharf in the winter of 1934/5, and left the dock on 7th February. It was converted to motor power at Oldbury on 21st August 1945. This basin was situated at the junction of the Titford Canal and the BCN Old Main Line at the bottom of Jim Crow Locks, Oldbury. The basi…

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